Are you planning your own wedding, friend’s wedding or just curious about Estonian wedding traditions? If that is the case then you are in the right place. In this article I will give you good insight to these sacred rituals. These ceremonies go from generation to generation and are used to bring smell of miracles, wonders and presence of divine in your wedding.
My story also has wedding traditions, however not a lot, because that time I didn’t know a lot about variety of these symbolic rituals. I remember the time when we were passionately planning wedding with my dear husband. How we asked our parents to help with ideas and how we followed their advices according to history of our families wedding traditions. It turned out to be pretty useful if you want to use family customs and also to show respect to older generation practises. I had Estonian-Ukrainian wedding, meaning that traditions of both countries were magically combined. But everyone decides for themselves, to use family traditions or to borrow something foreign, new, or even to create your own magical rituals.
Estonian historical extracts
Let us look in the nutshell of the mother history. Encyclopedia about Estonia (Estonica) points out the passive role of newlyweds during wedding likewise proposal ceremony. Everything is supposed to be done for couple, so they can relax and receive pleasure. Even one of the most important moments – the proposal, what is often so breathtaking was frequently made by the best man – who has to be older married man. Often times taking some vodka with and straightly going to ask from the bride’s father first.
The wedding was strictly held either Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, and of course when is the new moon. Bride-wealth was important part until late 19th century and was given in silver. Duration of wedding was 3-4 days, first day were separate parties in groom’s and bride’s houses. Second day bride was taken to groom’s house for showing her to guests and taking part in dancing party. Upcoming delightful night the couple could already spend together. The third day was held for ceremony of giving presents and enjoying various games. Fourth day could also be games and dancing, or could not happen at all. It was up to hosting family desires.
And finally, my Top 7 Estonian traditions – rituals:
1. Throwing the stone. Bride writes her old surname on the stone and then goes to beach or seaside to throw it in water saying “good bye” to old family name. After coming back bride should remember that additional important ritual is left – to change name in Facebook.
2. Help the locals. Newlyweds meet local people and simply propose to help to do some “householding” works, for instance cutting a small tree or whatever. After work, couple raises glasses of good drink with local as a gesture of gratitude . The ritual gives luck, good fortune and blessings to couple’s further family life.
3. Planting the tree. Parents of groom or bride gift a young oak tree as a symbol of wisdom and wealth. Newlyweds should plant it at the place they choose. They can decide if to do it during the wedding or later on. We chose after and planted it privately in the charming nature of Saarema island.
4. Horseshoe and candles. Presenting to couple a horseshoe as a symbol of luck and fertility charm and candles as a symbol of family peace and victory of light over darkness. These mentioned attributes should be presented by parents of the bride or groom.
5. Stealing the bride. Kidnappers gently steal the bride and groom should go through obstacles and bargain with kidnappers to got back his dear girl. For payment allowed still stone, silver or gold.
6. Protection circle. While the newlyweds have their first dance men have the role to surround the dancers. And not just standing still, it is important mission to hold candles, which adds impressive atmosphere of the show. Exists a belief that current ritual gives a layer of protection to the dear marriage couple’s family life.
7. Last but not least from my top rate is the Wreath ritual. When the wedding couple chooses another couple to give them “hint” for conducting their own wedding in future. It happens in the following way: The wreath ritual song starts and all unmarried people dance around the bride and groom the wreath dance. They dance and dance and the married couple walks around in the center with wreath and a hat. Finally if the music suddenly stops and the guys who happen to be in front of married couple get the wreath and the hat as a sign that they will be the next ones to get married.
I hope you enjoyed my described traditions and will have a chance to apply them for your own wedding or a wedding of your important people.
I wish you good luck and good love <З !